The coronavirus relief package deal reached by congressional leadership includes $7 billion in funding for broadband internet access.
The sum includes a new $3.2 billion program that will provide $50 per month for broadband to low-income families.
“Broadband connections are essential for Americans seeking to get new jobs, and to access school, health care and other government services,” Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenA Democratic plan to wipe out independent contractors Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Want a clean energy future? Look to the tax code MORE (D-Ore.), who introduced the bill that the provision was modeled on, said in a statement Sunday night. “Ensuring working families can stay online will pay massive dividends for kids' education, helping people find jobs and jump starting the economic recovery next year.”
The coronavirus package also includes $1.9 billion to remove equipment built by Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE from American networks.
Both companies have been designated as national security threats by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which also earlier this month moved to require their equipment be pulled out and replaced.
The agreement also includes $1 billion for tribal broadband programs, $300 million for connecting rural areas, $285 million for a pilot program to improve internet access for communities around historically Black colleges and universities, $250 million for the FCC’s telehealth program and $65 million for broadband mapping.
The text of the more than 5,500-page bill was released Monday afternoon just hours before the House is expected to vote on its passage. The Senate is set to vote on it shortly after the House.